Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar on Tuesday refused to term the recent hooch tragedy in Gopalganj, in which 18 persons died, as “failure of prohibition”, saying such incidents have happened in states where there was no ban on liquor.
“Some people started saying prohibition has failed in the wake of hooch tragedy in Gopalganj. But, there has been bigger hooch incidents in Uttar Pradesh and Odisha where there is no ban on alcohol,” he said while addressing a workshop of doctors from rural areas on prohibition.
Listing the virtues of the decision to declare Bihar a complete dry state in April last, Kumar said, “Steps taken by the state government (on alcohol ban) cannot be retreated.”
The Chief Minister said it was he who had ordered a probe on the basis of circumstantial evidence and media reports into the Gopalganj tragedy last month.
Asserting that the ban on alcohol has given him satisfaction which no other work has provided, Kumar stressed on public awareness alongside strict enforcement of the new liquor law for better results.
On the loss of about Rs 5,000 crore revenue due to the prohibition, he said, “Around Rs 10,000 crore of the people are saved due to the liquor ban, which will be spent on good things and in turn further enhance the state’s GDP.”
The JD(U) leader said prohibition has wider impact, particularly in rural areas, which could be gauged by visiting such area.
“There has been a marked change in the lives of poor. If you want to see the impact of prohibition, pay a visit to any village and talk to the people there,” he said.
Noted eye surgeon Rajvarshan Azad, Sunil Kumar Singh and B P Singh were present at the workshop.
Kumar added that the liquor lobby was disturbed due to the prohibition in Bihar as they think successful implementation of alcohol ban will ruin their trade.